Stockton's Infinity Bridge

Secretary of State to address North East investment event

05 March 2012

The Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills will give the keynote address at an event focusing on the role of councils, working with the private sector, to attract North East investment.

'Our Role in Economic Investment' is to be jointly hosted by the Association of North East Councils and the Local Government Association, with sponsorship from Deloitte. The event, which takes place at BALTIC on 9 March, will highlight examples of positive investment in the North East and debate the opportunities and challenges for this area of the country in achieving economic growth and contributing to the national economy.

The Secretary of State will address delegates and take part in a question and answer session to be chaired by, Gerry Foley, Political Editor for ITV Tyne Tees and Border TV and presenter of the political show 'Around the House'.

The event has attracted a high calibre of speakers to participate in the panel debates, including Alistair Dormer, CEO, Agility Trains (Hitachi Rail Europe Ltd), Heidi Mottram, Chief Executive, Northumbrian Water and Member of the CBI North East Regional Council, Dave Nicol, Works Manager, Tata Steel, Simon Goon, Operations Director, UKTI, Ed Cox, Director, IPPR North, Paul Feechan, Senior Partner, Deloitte, John Spurr, Director, Deloitte, John Barnett, Operations Manager, Calsonic Kansei and Tom Johnston, Trust Director, Glendale Gateway Trust.

Leading business representatives will be sharing their insights and perspectives on investment in the North East and highlight a range of successful examples of investment that have already created, and will in future result in, significant economic benefits.

Representatives from local and national government will explore opportunities and barriers to investment and debate what the right tools, mechanisms, incentives are for stimulating economic growth in the North East.

Aimed at senior people with an interest and involvement in taking forward economic investment and development, delegates will include senior representatives from across local government, the business community, think tanks, policy units and the media.

Cllr Paul Watson, Chair of the Association of North East Councils, said: "I am delighted that the Secretary of State is supporting this event, at a point in time when it has never been more important to be positive and confident about our strengths and assets in this area of the country.

"As local government in the North East, we are committed to doing everything we can to help create the right conditions for economic growth and to make the most of the opportunities open to us. Vision and ambition in North East local government in driving economic recovery and in creating the right conditions for business to invest and grow are at the heart of our activities.

"Councils make a unique contribution to economic growth and investment. With their knowledge, breadth of activity, enabling and incentivising role, they can act as a real driver in attracting investment and employment, with significant economic benefits for citizens and communities."

Cllr Peter Box, Chair of the LGA's Economy and Transport Board, said: "There are ambitious councils and businesses in the North East that have been instrumental in ensuring the success of numerous regeneration schemes, which make a real difference to the economy locally and nationally. The LGA is pleased to be associated with this event, which forms part of the LGA's national 'Local Growth' campaign, aimed at highlighting local government's leadership role and contribution in creating the conditions for economic growth."

Paul Feechan, Senior Partner at Deloitte, said: "The North East will continue to face some significant challenges over the coming years and the solution depends on a collaborative approach to stimulating growth. Local government has an essential role to play both in terms of supporting businesses in the region and encouraging others to locate themselves here. We have some outstanding companies operating in the automotive, chemical and manufacturing sectors amongst others. By continuing to work with our councils, they can help ensure that this region emerges from the current uncertainty stronger, more attractive to investors and able to meet the challenges and opportunities presented by the competitive global market place."

Ed Cox, Director of IPPR North, said: "There is growing evidence that the North of England can be the engine room of economic growth that will drive national prosperity. With some important natural assets, a significant platform for 21st century manufacturing and growing export potential the conditions are there for robust recovery. What the region now needs is strong collaborative leadership and councils have a key role to play here, working together for the wider strategic good. This conference provides an important opportunity to take a big leap forward on this agenda."

All 12 North East local authorities have contributed to a DVD - 'Our Role in Economic Investment', which highlights how our councils work with the private sector to create the right conditions for economic growth and enable development and regeneration.

Notes for Editors
The Association's submission to the Government includes a detailed technical response to the questions posed in the consultation, alongside an executive summary highlighting key points and wider impacts. The Association of North East Councils is the representative body for local government in the North East. It encompasses the 12 local authorities in the North East, including Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, County Durham and the Tees Valley, on issues of concern to them and the communities they serve. It is a cross-party organisation, with all of its Members democratically elected and accountable politicians.

For further information regarding the event please contact Bethan Airey on 0191 261 3917 or 07957 823 864; email bethan.airey@northeastcouncils.gov.uk